John Gilpin was a citizenOf credit and renown,A train-band captain eke was heOf famous London town.
John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear,Though wedded we have beenThese twice ten tedious years, yet weNo holiday have seen.
To-morrow is our wedding-day,And we will then repairUnto the Bell at Edmonton,All in a chaise and pair.
My sister and my sister's child,Myself and children three,Will fill the chaise; so you must rideOn horseback after we.
He soon replied, I do admireOf womankind but one,And you are she, my dearest dear,Therefore it shall be done.
I am a linendraper bold,As all the world doth know,And my good friend the calenderWill lend his horse to go.
Quoth Mrs. Gilpin, That's well said,And for that wine is dear,We will be furnish'd with our own,Which is both bright and clear.
John Gilpin kiss'd his loving wife,O'erjoy'd was he to find,That, though on pleasure she was bent,She had a frugal mind.
The morning came, the chaise was broughtBut yet was not allow'dTo drive up to the door, lest allShould say that she was proud.
So three doors off the chaise was stay'd,Where they did all get in;Six precious souls, and all agogTo dash through thick and thin.
Smack went the whip, round went the wheels,Were never folks so glad;The stones did rattle underneath,As if Cheapside were mad.
John Gilpin at his horse's sideSeized last the flowing mane,And up he got in haste to ride,But soon came down again;
For saddle-tree scarce reach'd had he,His journey to begin,When, turning round his head, he sawThree customers come in.
So down he came; for loss of time,Although it grieved him sore,Yet loss of pence, full well he knew,Would trouble him much more.
'Twas long before the customersWere suited to their mind,When Betty, screaming, came down stairs,"The wine is left behind!"
Good lack! quoth he, yet bring it me,My leathern belt likewise,In which I bear my trusty sword,When I do exercise.
Now Mrs. Gilpin (careful soul!)Had two stone bottles found,To hold the liquor that she loved,And keep it safe and sound.
Each bottle had a curling ear,Through which the belt he drew,And hung a bottle on each side,To make his balance true.
Then, over all, that he might beEquipp'd from top to toe,His long red cloak well brush'd and neat,He manfully did throw.
Now see him mounted once againUpon his nimble steed,Full slowly pacing o'er the stones,With caution and good heed.
But finding soon another roadBeneath his well-shod feet,The snorting boast began to trot,Which gall'd him in his seat.
So! fair and softly! John he cried,But John he cried in vain;That trot became a gallop soon,In spite of curb and rein.
So stooping down, as needs he mustWho cannot sit upright,He grasp'd the mane with both his hands,And eke with all his might.
His horse, who never in that sortHad handled been before,What thing upon his back had gotDid wonder more and more.
Away went Gilpin, neck or nought!Away went hat and wig;He little dreamt, when he set out,Of running such a rig.